President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday at 1:40 p.m. ET will introduce the scientists and doctors he says will finally defeat the pandemic — but for now, his team can only watch as a wave of infection and death deepens the crisis he will face after Jan. 20.
As Biden will give his most significant preview yet of his plan to tackle the worst health challenge in 100 years, President Trump — whose dereliction of duty has contributed to the alarming winter surge — will hold his own pandemic event.
He will pitch for credit for the swift development of Covid-19 vaccines and sign an executive order prioritizing their supply for Americans during a vaccine summit that is expected to begin at 2 p.m. ET.
The dueling events — one in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, and other at the White House — will showcase the vastly different approaches to the pandemic between Trump and Biden.
The President has repeatedly downplayed the disaster as he concentrates instead on false claims that last month’s election was stolen from him. Biden, whose own campaign was an exercise in demonstrating social distancing and masking, is pledging to put science back at the center of the fight against the virus.
In the meantime, the tragedy of the pandemic is being exacerbated by the political vacuum in Washington. Trump, in his last weeks in office, has the power and presidential megaphone that could go a long way toward convincing Americans to take precautions, but has no inclination to do so.
Biden has the plans and a fresh team of experts who could make a difference, but he has no real power to shift American behavior and policies until he is inaugurated next month.
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